By James Wall, Senior Director
Last month, Hatcher launched a new product we call the Marketing Brand Navigator (MBN) – a group brainstorming session in which we take a 360-degree look at a client’s brand. The testing ground for this new product was Hatcher itself. We were in the midst of a rebranding, and so our first MBN session was with a large group of eager Hatcher employees.
The Hatcher MBN involved a productive three-hour session where we discussed our brand promise, tagline, value proposition, and competitor analysis – all using Miro (an online collaboration tool).
Overall, the MBN gave us a holistic look at the Hatcher brand with an easy-to-decipher, single-page “Brand Map” at the end of the discussion. This map has been used to create much of the messaging you now see on our new, beautifully redesigned website.
But let’s take a step back. How do we define the word “brand” at Hatcher?
For many, a brand is simply a visual image, unique mark, or tagline. However, we view branding as an exercise in capturing (in words and symbols) the relationship you want to have with your key audiences to cultivate preference, loyalty, and trust. Your brand is the unique promise you make to your stakeholders and becomes increasingly important as your organization evolves and grows.
The importance of simplicity. We start with the premise that brands must be simple – easy to convey in just a few words or symbols. In our experience, brands must be simple, or they simply do not work. Your brand must be easy to understand and remember.
But don’t just take our word for it. In 2018, brand strategy firm Siegel+Gale asked more than 15,000 people across nine countries in the U.S., Europe, Asia, India, and the Middle East to evaluate brand promise and how simplicity influences their value. Their research found that:
In other words, simplicity is king. The top-rated companies and nonprofit organizations in the world got to where they are because they deliver on their brand promise using simple, clear, and compelling experiences.
To counter the human tendency to make everything complex, we deliberately developed our Brand Map as a four-quadrant, single-page document rather than a lengthy report or PowerPoint. This format forces us to distill everything we uncover in the MBN process into simple, digestible words and phrases, where excess analysis and interpretation is removed.
How is the map deployed? It can be used to develop more refined marketing messaging, a new logo or revised website, refreshed collateral, or talking points for a media interview. Because it’s a single page, it can also be printed out and placed anywhere in an office for leadership and staff to use every day.
Nonprofits need branding, too. But what about brands in the nonprofit world? Is it important to focus on branding if you are a foundation or a mission-focused organization rather than a for-profit, consumer-focused company?
Our answer to this is clearly “yes.” A strong nonprofit brand can help advance your strategic goals – mission and outcomes – and can translate into increased credibility in the eyes of your donors, who are more likely to contribute when they are emotionally connected to your brand’s story. A simple and effective brand can also improve your ability to recruit top talent as employees, board members, and volunteers.
When’s a good time to consider the MBN process? Embarking on a new strategic plan, launching a priority campaign, undergoing leadership transitions, or simply realizing it’s time to take a fresh look at your organization’s brand definition and clarity are all excellent times to reconsider your brand using the MBN. If you aren’t satisfied with what your brand says about you, contact senior director James Wall to learn more.